Thursday, 20 May 2010

French Girl Knits

Book Depository Link
Ravelry Link
Types of patterns: Garments

Number of Patterns: 18: Tank top (3); Cardigan (5); Tunic (2); blouse (1); Skirt (1); Top (1); Jumper (3); Wrap (1), shrug (1)

Split of patterns: Women

Size Range: 30.25-48" (77-122cm)

Colour/Black & White: Colour with black and white charts (some enhanced with colour)

Schematics: Yes

Target Audience: Intermediate to advanced

How to knit guide: No, pretty typical Interweave Knits guide to extra techniques, clarifying some cast-ons etc.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Pretty classical look to this.

Comments: This is not a book for me, but I can see it's appeal to some people, the style is not my style and this will be reflected in my opinion of the patterns.

Satine - floaty tunic tank, designed for negative ease this is intended to be knit in a mohair/silk yarn, using smaller and larger needles to create shaping. I would like to see it in a less fuzzy yarn, I still suspect it's not what I would wear, I know several people it would suit nicely though. Empire styling makes this interesting and a feather-and-fan-lace adds to the interest. Needs planned undergarments. Knit in Worsted and sportweight yarn

Sophia - cable-edged cardigan - knit cuff to centre and then grafted together this is interesting, not my style as I don't like cardigans that don't meet (I mightn't fasten them often but I find it important that I can sometimes), knit in DK weight yarn

Anjou - knit in laceweight yarn this has a tie at the hem. Quite a pretty piece, it's one of a few that made me think about knitting them, I'd do away with the tie at the hem and possibly knit it in two pieces to the waist, this piece is knit on 5.5 and 5mm needles so careful planning of undergarments is again needed.

Paloma is knit in a fine sportweight yarn, it has a circular bodice and cap sleeves and hugs your midsection. Again needs underwear planned.

Nadine is worked from side to side again, with lace on the sides and in worsted weight yarn, quite a pretty piece, this again has open lace in the bust area.

Wrenna - leather-laced cardigan - I'm definitely not a candidate for this garment, it's knit in chunky weight wool and I'm big enough thanks. I was tempted though while looking at it. It's soft, with lace framing it, lace ties and a very open neck, the back is palin to the waist and then continues the lace pattern. A nice top, though if I was to make it I might be tempted to make the sleeves longer.

Stella is another piece that while it and I wouldn't suit I wished that this wasn't true. It's biased and rather beautiful and would be a masterpiece for anyone who knit it. Knit in aran with some fine yarn it might work with yarn a smidge thicker if you didn't want the halo.

I looked at Cybele and thought about knitting it until I looked at the back, if I was to knit this I'd knit it as one piece around the back and avoid the back-fastening, it's a tank top knit sideways and buttoned with three buttons on the back. Knit in worsted-weight yarn

Ondine is an appliqued skirt, split quite high this would need an underskirt, knit in worsted weight yarn with some fire yarn for embelishment

Delphine is a lacy cap-sleeve top, well in my book it's a top with wide straps as the "sleeve" doesn't extend beyond the front shoulder bone on the model. Styled after a corset top this is an open piece knit in fine yarn with graduated lace panels

Niobe - a lacy bell-sleeved pullover knit in worsted with a fine yarn knit alongside it's fairly open but the lace is placed as a triangle at the base and on the sleeves starts at the bottom and tapers to along the middle of the sleeve, I'd like to see it in another colour to fully decide my opinion on it, but I like it. (I wrote this before seeing this version and that is soooo pretty, it would have got closer to convincing me to knit it!)

Celeste is a mohair lingerie wrap, this would also work as a formal jacket, possibly for a winter weading, it's knit in fine yarn (Kidsilk Haze) with 5mm needles, knit from cuff to centre this is then grafted together. I'd say a practice swatch for the grafting would be a very good idea. (I like the non-mohair versions on ravelry seriously check them out!)

Simone - flared-sleeve cowl this is a pretty jumper, fitted and with lace along the bell-sleeves, waist and broad collar this is quite a pretty piece. You would need to be thin to pull it off as the yarn clings to the midsection. Knit in worsted yarn

Viola - short-sleeved cardigan, is a cap-sleeved cardigan with three buttons down the front and a loose bottom section, knit in worsted and fine weight yarn this also features flouncing around the neckline and cuffs. Flounce I'm sure you could eliminate if you wished.

Martine - slip-stitch bordered hoodie - short sleeved with a plain body this features quite a pretty slip-stitch pattern along the sleeve ends and along the edging for the hoodie. I'm not a fan of hoodies and I'm not sure this wouldn't be better with longer sleeves. Still not a bad pattern overall

Louisa - lace tunic - lace for the body, cap sleeves and changing needle sizes to get some shaping this is knit in a chunky weight yarn, this could be stunning on the right person. The yarn used has a metalic fibre through it so while it could be wonderful for a more formal occasion as well as being quite pretty for everyday wear

Veronique - Airy Shrug, knit in kidsilk haze in a circular style this is seamless the back features some tucks for interest and theres some beading along the edge for style, if this is your kind of garment this is one of the best of it's types that I've seen.

Bijou - Cropped Cotton Cardigan - knit in worsted weight yarn this is a two-colour top with short sleeves and a buckle fastening at mid-bust height. knit from side to size and grafted in the middle, an interesting piece for the right person.

Apart from some very nice patterns this also has a lot of advice on the hows and wherefores of the design methods, she does a good job of it and clarifies a lot of methods, with some very good recommendations and quite a good bibliography divided into themes. It's not a book for me but in the right hands this would be an excellent resource and inspiration.

As part of writing this I looked at some of the Ravelry projects and I have to be honest, some of the projects appeal more in different yarns but don't appeal enough to make me want to buy it.

Buy/Borrow: I'd borrow it first and buy if it inspires, many of the patterns are for women with a more ornate mind and dress style than mine.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has copies.


  1. With a failed wrenna (partly my fault for wrong yarn choice but more on that later); a 30% complete delphine in manos silky and malabrigo lace purchased for a short version of celeste in my queue/wips i was interested to see what you said about this, especially after you'd hinted that your review might not be the most favourable. It sounds like you found a few things to like in the end though...?

    As a fairly new knitter I found the instructions for wrenna frustratingly vague ("row 14: work in pattern" - wtf?) but so far delphine has proved much simpler, and it's a nice easy lace repeat - a chart would have been handy, i ended up drawing my own from the written instructions.

    The listed yarn weights on the page and on the ravelry pattern pages don't match up with the samples used though, and that's what caught me out with wrenna. It says bulky but it's actually knit in a super bulky. Celeste has sport listed, but it's knit in laceweight. That means it doesn't show the right patterns on a yarn weight-filtered search.

    I would say if anyone is going to attempt anything and has problems though, check out the ravelry group for the book - the author is in there regularly and is quite helpful.

    Sorry i rambled a bit there, should have posted my own review!

  2. Yeah, I was a bit confused when sport weight was mentioned, the book didn't have the useful chart at the back with the standards listed, I couldn't get through to the Yarn Standards listing when I was in work but Fine or 2 is listed as Sport or Baby, finer than DK, probably what is often referred to on this side of the pond as 4-ply. I always thought that sport was aran weight!

    I did find some things that are quite nice but overall I was kinda disappointed that I didn't find something that made me really want to knit them. Not a book I want for me but not a book I would disrecommend!